http://lacuisineparis.com/ offers a variety of classes and I decided to participate in the morning market class.
We met outside Cafe du Metro (kitty corner to metro Maubert Mutualite) at the corner of Boulevard Saint Germain and Place Maubert at 9:30 am. I didn’t know anyone else in the group and it was fun to meet each person as we introduced ourselves, where we were from and what had motivated us to participate in this specific cooking class. Our chef for the day was Diane and she was engaging, personable, an excellent instructor and chef and spoke English. She lead us through the morning market, Marche Maubert, which was across the street from the cafe. She found out what we might be interested in preparing for our shared lunch based on what she had noticed were the freshest ingredients being sold in the market that day.
The sun meandered its way in and out of the clouds as we followed her through the market, stopping at various stalls. She would instruct us on what she noticed, why she was selecting each product and taught us some specifics on selecting fish, having decided as a group that we would like to learn to prepare a fish dish. She selected dos de cabillaud (back of the cod). I wish I could walk out my door each day and wander through markets like this.
I wandered about taking photographs and listening as she engaged with the venders selecting: dos de cabillaud, 3 types of cheese, 2 types of bread from the boulangerie, fresh figs, peaches, cilantro, parsley, fingerling potatoes, red and yellow onions, shallots, garlic, zucchini, red and yellow peppers and the largest head of this magnificent type of lettuce that I still don’t know exactly what it was called.
Along the way we helped carry the bags that Claire (la cuisine staff member) passed to us. She was personable, friendly and fun to chat with. We walked from the market, along Boulevard St. Germain, crossed the Seine just below Notre Dame via the bridges Pont St. Louis and Pont Louis Philippe and walked along Quai de l’Hotel de Ville where we entered the cooking school at #80. We were served coffee and tea as the chef took the ingredients upstairs to the kitchen.
The kitchen is a rectangular shape with a long table and plenty of space for the 12 of us to work. Diane lead us through the menu for the day, where the equipment was etc and we got to work. We each had a plastic apron, knives, and a cutting board. I learned how to prepare: poached peaches, cashew brittle, pan sauteed and then quickly roasted dos de cabillaud ( seasoned with salt,pepper and fennel seeds), roasted fingerling potatoes with cloves of garlic, cumin, salt and pepper, roasted red and yellow peppers, sauteed zucchini, beurre blanc sauce (extreme yumminess of white wine, butter and shallots), charmolot (not sure of the spelling – a light fresh combination of parsley, preserved lemon, lemon rind, and parmesan – that you can top your fish with), roasted carrots that looked so beautiful because I learned how to keep some of the green top on them, and 2 kinds of french mustard dressing to lightly dress the gorgeous lettuce with. Phew!
Throughout the prep time Chef Diane demonstrated the technique to use for prepping the ingredients. We all worked together and when everything was ready she demonstrated how to assemble the food so that it looked absolutely beautiful on the plate. After all that hard work we prepped our plates and sat down at the large rectangular dining table with windows overlooking the Seine.
Accompanying our meal was a lovely, light and tasty white Sauvignon Blanc wine as well as water. The lightly dressed salad plate, accompanied with cheese and fresh figs sat next to our main course. After this we watched as Diane demonstrated plating our dessert – poached peaches. I left La Cuisine Paris at about 2:15 pm with a very happy and content belly and a smile on my face. Bon appetit 🙂